Scammers target Chester Co. bank customers

July 29, 2008 8:32:48 PM PDT
The FBI is investigating an apparent identity theft scam that has targeted customers of a Chester County bank. This latest phishing scam has the FBI a bit concerned because it is the second one targeting customers of a bank in as many weeks in Pennsylvania, and the perpetrators appear to be somewhere overseas.

Candy Way and Roger Cotton were among many who received a disturbing automated call on their cell phone from someone purporting to be with Roger's bank, the First National Bank of Chester County.

Candy says the caller was, "Telling us that his ATM card had been suspended and he was not to use it and that he was to call an 800 number."

The couple was unable to write down the number so they tried to call the bank instead, but it seems so many other people were also trying to call the bank that they could not get through. With recent news of bank failures, cotton panicked and feared the worse.

"I thought that maybe at that point, my bank is going under," said Cotton. "So I got in my car and down Route 1 I went to the bank to see what was going on."

When he got there, he was relieved to learn that First National Bank of Chester County was not going under and he was just one of many people who got such a call from scam artists hoping to gleam financial or personal information to steal their identity. The couple expects to hear that kind of scam going on in the city, but not way out here in Cochranville, Pennsylvania.

"We're in the middle of nowhere out here in southern Chester County. It's beautiful, but you're right, it's a very safe environment, everyone is happy, you know there's virtually no crime and you would not expect this," said Candy.

The FBI is working with the bank on trying to track down the perps. Officials say it sounds similar to a scam being pulled two weeks ago on customers of Sun East Federal Credit Union. Officials warn that all such calls should be considered frauds. Do not click on any Internet links or call any telephone number and provide any personal financial information. The feds say these types of international scam artists have no borders and they often operate in far away countries.

It turns out officials at First National Bank of Chester County didn't even have Roger Cotton's cell phone number in their records. Often times scam artists just call hundreds of phone numbers randomly hoping to catch a few people off guard and steal their information before they realize what just happened. So, a warning to all.

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